June 1, 2021  |  

A comparison of 454 GS FLX Ti and PacBio RS in the context of characterizing HIV-1 intra-host diversity.

PacBio 2013 User Group Meeting Presentation Slides: Lance Hepler from UC San Diego’s Center for AIDS Research used the PacBio RS to study intra-host diversity in HIV-1. He compared PacBio’s performance to that of 454® sequencer, the platform he and his team previously used. Hepler noted that in general, there was strong agreement between the platforms; where results differed, he said that PacBio data had significantly better reproducibility and accuracy. “PacBio does not suffer from local coverage loss post-processing, whereas 454 has homopolymer problems,” he noted. Hepler said they are moving away from using 454 in favor of the PacBio system.


June 1, 2021  |  

An improved circular consensus algorithm with an application to detect HIV-1 Drug Resistance Associated Mutations (DRAMs)

Scientists who require confident resolution of heterogeneous populations across complex regions have been unable to transition to short-read sequencing methods. They continue to depend on Sanger sequencing despite its cost and time inefficiencies. Here we present a new redesigned algorithm that allows the generation of circular consensus sequences (CCS) from individual SMRT Sequencing reads. With this new algorithm, dubbed CCS2, it is possible to reach high quality across longer insert lengths at a lower cost and higher throughput than Sanger sequencing. We applied CCS2 to the characterization of the HIV-1 K103N drug-resistance associated mutation in both clonal and patient samples. This particular DRAM has previously proved to be clinically relevant, but challenging to characterize due to regional sequence context. First, a mutation was introduced into the 3rd position of amino acid position 103 (A>C substitution) of the RT gene on a pNL4-3 backbone by site-directed mutagenesis. Regions spanning ~1.3 kb were PCR amplified from both the non-mutated and mutant (K103N) plasmids, and were sequenced individually and as a 50:50 mixture. Additionally, the proviral reservoir of a subject with known dates of virologic failure of an Efavirenz-based regimen and with documented emergence of drug resistant (K103N) viremia was sequenced at several time points as a proof-of-concept study to determine the kinetics of retention and decay of K103N.Sequencing data were analyzed using the new CCS2 algorithm, which uses a fully-generative probabilistic model of our SMRT Sequencing process to polish consensus sequences to high accuracy. With CCS2, we are able to achieve a per-read empirical quality of QV30 (99.9% accuracy) at 19X coverage. A total of ~5000 1.3 kb consensus sequences with a collective empirical quality of ~QV40 (99.99%) were obtained for each sample. We demonstrate a 0% miscall rate in both unmixed control samples, and estimate a 48:52 frequency for the K103N mutation in the mixed (50:50) plasmid sample, consistent with data produced by orthogonal platforms. Additionally, the K103N escape variant was only detected in proviral samples from time points subsequent (19%) to the emergence of drug resistant viremia. This tool might be used to monitor the HIV reservoir for stable evolutionary changes throughout infection.


April 21, 2020  |  

The replication-competent HIV-1 latent reservoir is primarily established near the time of therapy initiation.

Although antiretroviral therapy (ART) is highly effective at suppressing HIV-1 replication, the virus persists as a latent reservoir in resting CD4+ T cells during therapy. This reservoir forms even when ART is initiated early after infection, but the dynamics of its formation are largely unknown. The viral reservoirs of individuals who initiate ART during chronic infection are generally larger and genetically more diverse than those of individuals who initiate therapy during acute infection, consistent with the hypothesis that the reservoir is formed continuously throughout untreated infection. To determine when viruses enter the latent reservoir, we compared sequences of replication-competent viruses from resting peripheral CD4+ T cells from nine HIV-positive women on therapy to viral sequences circulating in blood collected longitudinally before therapy. We found that, on average, 71% of the unique viruses induced from the post-therapy latent reservoir were most genetically similar to viruses replicating just before ART initiation. This proportion is far greater than would be expected if the reservoir formed continuously and was always long lived. We conclude that ART alters the host environment in a way that allows the formation or stabilization of most of the long-lived latent HIV-1 reservoir, which points to new strategies targeted at limiting the formation of the reservoir around the time of therapy initiation.Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.


April 21, 2020  |  

High-Resolution Evolutionary Analysis of Within-Host Hepatitis C Virus Infection.

Despite recent breakthroughs in treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, we have limited understanding of how virus diversity generated within individuals impacts the evolution and spread of HCV variants at the population scale. Addressing this gap is important for identifying the main sources of disease transmission and evaluating the risk of drug-resistance mutations emerging and disseminating in a population.We have undertaken a high-resolution analysis of HCV within-host evolution from 4 individuals coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1). We used long-read, deep-sequenced data of full-length HCV envelope glycoprotein, longitudinally sampled from acute to chronic HCV infection to investigate the underlying viral population and evolutionary dynamics.We found statistical support for population structure maintaining the within-host HCV genetic diversity in 3 out of 4 individuals. We also report the first population genetic estimate of the within-host recombination rate for HCV (0.28 × 10-7 recombination/site/year), which is considerably lower than that estimated for HIV-1 and the overall nucleotide substitution rate estimated during HCV infection.Our findings indicate that population structure and strong genetic linkage shapes within-host HCV evolutionary dynamics. These results will guide the future investigation of potential HCV drug resistance adaptation during infection, and at the population scale. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.


April 21, 2020  |  

Origin and recent expansion of an endogenous gammaretroviral lineage in domestic and wild canids.

Vertebrate genomes contain a record of retroviruses that invaded the germlines of ancestral hosts and are passed to offspring as endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). ERVs can impact host function since they contain the necessary sequences for expression within the host. Dogs are an important system for the study of disease and evolution, yet no substantiated reports of infectious retroviruses in dogs exist. Here, we utilized Illumina whole genome sequence data to assess the origin and evolution of a recently active gammaretroviral lineage in domestic and wild canids.We identified numerous recently integrated loci of a canid-specific ERV-Fc sublineage within Canis, including 58 insertions that were absent from the reference assembly. Insertions were found throughout the dog genome including within and near gene models. By comparison of orthologous occupied sites, we characterized element prevalence across 332 genomes including all nine extant canid species, revealing evolutionary patterns of ERV-Fc segregation among species as well as subpopulations.Sequence analysis revealed common disruptive mutations, suggesting a predominant form of ERV-Fc spread by trans complementation of defective proviruses. ERV-Fc activity included multiple circulating variants that infected canid ancestors from the last 20 million to within 1.6 million years, with recent bursts of germline invasion in the sublineage leading to wolves and dogs.


September 22, 2019  |  

Evolution of selective-sequencing approaches for virus discovery and virome analysis.

Recent advances in sequencing technologies have transformed the field of virus discovery and virome analysis. Once mostly confined to the traditional Sanger sequencing based individual virus discovery, is now entirely replaced by high throughput sequencing (HTS) based virus metagenomics that can be used to characterize the nature and composition of entire viromes. To better harness the potential of HTS for the study of viromes, sample preparation methodologies use different approaches to exclude amplification of non-viral components that can overshadow low-titer viruses. These virus-sequence enrichment approaches mostly focus on the sample preparation methods, like enzymatic digestion of non-viral nucleic acids and size exclusion of non-viral constituents by column filtration, ultrafiltration or density gradient centrifugation. However, recently a new approach of virus-sequence enrichment called virome-capture sequencing, focused on the amplification or HTS library preparation stage, was developed to increase the ability of virome characterization. This new approach has the potential to further transform the field of virus discovery and virome analysis, but its technical complexity and sequence-dependence warrants further improvements. In this review we discuss the different methods, their applications and evolution, for selective sequencing based virome analysis and also propose refinements needed to harness the full potential of HTS for virome analysis. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Computational comparison of availability in CTL/gag epitopes among patients with acute and chronic HIV-1 infection.

Recent studies indicate that there is selection bias for transmission of viral polymorphisms associated with higher viral fitness. Furthermore, after transmission and before a specific immune response is mounted in the recipient, the virus undergoes a number of reversions which allow an increase in their replicative capacity. These aspects, and others, affect the viral population characteristic of early acute infection.160 singlegag-gene amplifications were obtained by limiting-dilution RT-PCR from plasma samples of 8 ARV-naïve patients with early acute infection (<30?days, 22?days average) and 8 ARV-naive patients with approximately a year of infection (10 amplicons per patient). Sanger sequencing and NGS SMRT technology (Pacific Biosciences) were implemented to sequence the amplicons. Phylogenetic analysis was performed by using MEGA 6.06. HLA-I (A and B) typing was performed by SSOP-PCR method. The chromatograms were analyzed with Sequencher 4.10. Epitopes and immune-proteosomal cleavages prediction was performed with CBS prediction server for the 30 HLA-A and -B alleles most prevalent in our population with peptide lengths from 8 to 14 mer. Cytotoxic response prediction was performed by using IEDB Analysis Resource.After implementing epitope prediction analysis, we identified a total number of 325 possible viral epitopes present in two or more acute or chronic patients. 60.3% (n?=?196) of them were present only in acute infection (prevalent acute epitopes) while 39.7% (n?=?129) were present only in chronic infection (prevalent chronic epitopes). Within p24, the difference was equally dramatic with 59.4% (79/133) being acute epitopes (p?


September 22, 2019  |  

Unexpected invasion of miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements in viral genomes

Transposable elements (TEs) are common and often present with high copy numbers in cellular genomes. Unlike in cellular organisms, TEs were previously thought to be either rare or absent in viruses. Almost all reported TEs display only one or two copies per viral genome. In addition, the discovery of pandoraviruses with genomes up to 2.5-Mb emphasizes the need for biologists to rethink the fundamental nature of the relationship between viruses and cellular life.


September 22, 2019  |  

Hepacivirus A infection in horses defines distinct envelope hypervariable regions and elucidates potential roles of viral strain and adaptive immune status in determining envelope diversity and infection outcome.

Hepacivirus A (also known as nonprimate hepacivirus and equine hepacivirus) is a hepatotropic virus that can cause both transient and persistent infections in horses. The evolution of intrahost viral populations (quasispecies) has not been studied in detail for hepacivirus A, and its roles in immune evasion and persistence are unknown. To address these knowledge gaps, we first evaluated the envelope gene (E1 and E2) diversity of two different hepacivirus A strains (WSU and CU) in longitudinal blood samples from experimentally infected adult horses, juvenile horses (foals), and foals with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). Persistent infection with the WSU strain was associated with significantly greater quasispecies diversity than that observed in horses who spontaneously cleared infection (P = 0.0002) or in SCID foals (P < 0.0001). In contrast, the CU strain was able to persist despite significantly lower (P < 0.0001) and relatively static envelope diversity. These findings indicate that envelope diversity is a poor predictor of hepacivirus A infection outcomes and could be dependent on strain-specific factors. Next, entropy analysis was performed on all E1/E2 genes entered into GenBank. This analysis defined three novel hypervariable regions (HVRs) in E2, at residues 391 to 402 (HVR1), 450 to 461 (HVR2), and 550 to 562 (HVR3). For the experimentally infected horses, entropy analysis focusing on the HVRs demonstrated that these regions were under increased selective pressure during persistent infection. Increased diversity in the HVRs was also temporally associated with seroconversion in some horses, suggesting that these regions may be targets of neutralizing antibody and may play a role in immune evasion.IMPORTANCE Hepacivirus C (hepatitis C virus) is estimated to infect 150 million people worldwide and is a leading cause of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. In contrast, its closest relative, hepacivirus A, causes relatively mild disease in horses and is frequently cleared. The relationship between quasispecies evolution and infection outcome has not been explored for hepacivirus A. To address this knowledge gap, we examined envelope gene diversity in horses with resolving and persistent infections. Interestingly, two strain-specific patterns of quasispecies diversity emerged. Persistence of the WSU strain was associated with increased quasispecies diversity and the accumulation of amino acid changes within three novel hypervariable regions following seroconversion. These findings provided evidence that envelope gene mutation is influenced by adaptive immune pressure and may contribute to hepacivirus persistence. However, the CU strain persisted despite relative evolutionary stasis, suggesting that some hepacivirus strains may use alternative mechanisms to persist in the host. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.


September 22, 2019  |  

Density-dependent enhanced replication of a densovirus in Wolbachia-infected Aedes cells is associated with production of piRNAs and higher virus-derived siRNAs.

The endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia pipientis has been shown to restrict a range of RNA viruses in Drosophila melanogaster and transinfected dengue mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Here, we show that Wolbachia infection enhances replication of Aedes albopictus densovirus (AalDNV-1), a single stranded DNA virus, in Aedes cell lines in a density-dependent manner. Analysis of previously produced small RNAs of Aag2 cells showed that Wolbachia-infected cells produced greater absolute abundance of virus-derived short interfering RNAs compared to uninfected cells. Additionally, we found production of virus-derived PIWI-like RNAs (vpiRNA) produced in response to AalDNV-1 infection. Nuclear fractions of Aag2 cells produced a primary vpiRNA signature U1 bias whereas the typical “ping-pong” signature (U1 – A10) was evident in vpiRNAs from the cytoplasmic fractions. This is the first report of the density-dependent enhancement of DNA viruses by Wolbachia. Further, we report the generation of vpiRNAs in a DNA virus-host interaction for the first time. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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